Khvelner v. Tylo, 16 Misc 3d 1129(A)

Supreme Court Kings County

There are two categories of law: substantive and procedural. Simply put, substantive laws are those that create the rights and duties members of a society have to one another. Procedural laws are the rules governing how a court applies substantive law. In other words, what paperwork gets filed? What sorts of time limits exist in asserting a right? What evidence is necessary, and how can it be presented? Procedural law seeks to guarantee that the legal process is fair and consistent. It is crucial for attorneys to always try to follow the procedural law to the letter, lest their clients be disadvantaged.

Khvelner v. Tylo

In 2007, the Law Office of Yonatan Levoritz represented a client in a malpractice suit against her former attorney for making a procedural error. One of the most important procedural rules in the legal system is the requirement that any defendant to an action be adequately notified beforehand. In this case, the client served a divorce summons to her spouse prior to actually filing for divorce in court. This was a mistake—under New York law, a party must be notified of an action soon after the action is filed. As a result, the notice given in this action was not legally effective. Several days later, the client’s attorney was replaced on the case by a different attorney.

However, this mistake wasn’t noticed until months later, after the court had already issued a final divorce judgment. The judgment happened to be very favorable to the client, but when the mistake was noticed, the judge vacated the judgment.

The client was understandably upset, and contacted the Law Office of Yonatan Levoritz for answers. Attorney Yonatan Levoritz represented her in a malpractice suit against her former attorney. Her former attorney filed a motion to dismiss, claiming that because she had been replaced on the case, the new attorney should have noticed the mistake and rectified it. The court disagreed, noting that from the new attorney’s perspective, “it was not readily apparent that there was a problem with the service.” The motion to dismiss was denied, and the malpractice suit was permitted to advance to a trial.

If You Are Facing Divorce, Contact an Experienced Family Law Attorney

The divorce process can be complex, and it is crucial that any party to a divorce be represented by an experienced attorney. Attorney Yonatan Levoritz understands the procedural rules of divorce law and is proud to provide meticulous and dedicated representation to clients facing divorce in Brooklyn and throughout New York. Contact the Law Office of Yonatan Levoritz today for a free consultation.